We talked with Advance Construction, the first ChildSafe Certified construction company about their involvement in the ChildSafe Movement.
How did you first learn about the ChildSafe Movement?
I became aware of Childafe through The Friends restaurant in Phnom Penh nearly 8 years ago and also through seeing tuk tuk drivers wearing childsafe t shirts.
Why is it important for you to be ChildSafe?
Construction sites are dangerous places and Cambodia has a culture of allowing families to stay on construction sites. We absolutely do not allow under 18’s on our sites. We provide accommodation off site for our workers, to ensure they don’t need to bring their families along with them and their children can stay at home and continue to attend school. Our over 18’s only policy ensure we are not supporting child labour. We do not even allow client’s children on site. Our policies and procedures reflect the childsafe principles.
In what ways do you implement ChildSafe protection as an individual or within your business or organization?
In many of our company policies there are references to child protection. We only employ staff of 18 years and above they must have ID cards or family books to prove this. There is zero tolerance of any employee being involved in any offences related to children. This is grounds for immediate dismissal and contacting the police. We make all our employees aware of our childsafe principles on their employment by thoroughly explaining our company policies. We vet any NGO we are involved with for CSR to ensure they are ChildSafe. Where we can we use chilsdafe accommodation and transport. Full time employees must provide a police check from their home province. For some projects we also require this from casual labour. Our full time staff are all ChildSafe certified agents. Our staff are not permitted to volunteer with an organization that is not ChildSafe. We display ChildSafe leaflets in our office. We update our childsafe training yearly.
What experiences have you faced personally which have demonstrated the need to be a ChildSafe advocate?
I have seen underage girls with older men at hotels being groomed. I have seen children playing on building sites. I have been approached by begging children. I have seen children abusing substances in the street. I have seen drugged children being used by adults/older children to beg. I have seen child labour on building sites and in brick factories.
Do you have any examples you can share of ways you have enforced ChildSafe protection which led to a positive outcome?
By accommodating our workers on site – children are left at home to be able to attend school. By not employing under 18’s we prevent child labour. I personally have phoned the ChildSafe hotline when I was worried for the safety of a child.